to work    away   not understanding
conjure to sleep for      eight actual hours
but nervously wake-wake    all thru the night.
Conjure boredom.  Conjure “hold.”
Please wait.
your call is [very=sincere] important to us.
To leave a messy, press two. Press
one. Please [garble] customer
service representative. Please
Stay. Leave a me-say.

Pleas wait.
It is ejecting. Wait for reset.
Then you can plead your case.

Play-hold; we are accessing your file
(“file” spelled as reverse of “life”).
No, we don’t handle that question.
Try the following Numbing.

Do you have a pencil?
Are you ready?
I will repeat.

Wait for the joke of drought and choke. 
Then wait for decent water. 
Wait for an official statement.

This machine is empty.
It is out of quarters. Gives no quarter.
No change. [Unclear] refilled.

This office is [garbled] until further notice.
Please wait for restocking.
We are checking. 

Conjure “hold on.”
We can’t just conjure
the codes from nothing! We can’t work
                                                                                    any faster than [the resources, the lies, 
the lives] we have.

Copyright © 2022 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 23, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.